Introducing Step Parent.(24 Posts)
Hi, I'm a Mum to Two preschool children and I'm about to introduce my new partner to my children, we are in an established relationship and ex husband is on board, can anyone recommend how we can all prep the children for this together? It's completely new territory for all involved and we want it to go as smoothly as possible, any advice would be greatly appreciated or recommendations for reading material?
Hi. I’m a step parent. Has new partner not kids? If not like myself it can be really scary and nerve wracking! I’ve definitely had second thoughts! First of all I’d say don’t call them a step parent from day 1... it connotes all sorts of expectations for all parties. Just introduce as new partner/ friend/ bf whatever. For me things moved way too quick and before I knew it I’d taken on a role I didn’t want and the step daughter was in the bathroom with me and in bed with me. Just set boundaries! Talk and be really open. No situation will be the same but if they have someone to talk to and chat things over for a different perspective then that will help! Good luck!
My advice would be don’t make a big deal of it and don’t put too much pressure on yourselves.
I met my OH’s 2 kids (then 6 & 9) 9 months into our relationship. I was introduced as Daddy’s friend (we met away from his / their home) and my OH took us all bowling and we had burgers afterwards.
I wouldn’t worry about it or make a big deal about it.
Another one saying don't make a big deal of it!
10 years ago I casually introduced my now dh into my dcs lives, they were 3 & 7 at the time and to them he was nothing more than Mums friend. We went for pizza, he came round for dinner, watched films with etc but didn't stay over or behave like my bf when they were around for a very long time.
We laugh about this now but dd after about 6 months, decided I should get myself a boyfriend but only if it was my now dh! She even offered to ask him to see if he liked the idea!
Agree with Pp. Don't make a big deal about it. Go out all together for a fun activity and just introduce as your friend. No need to 'prep' the children that will only make it out as something unusual and awkward. Just start having him join you for fun stuff more and more often. My DSD was a very shy almost 3yr old when we met and I found it easiest to just let her lead our relationship. I treated her like a niece I'd never met and we slowly but surely became SM and DSD.
You didn't say how long you and your new partner have been together. I would be 100% sure about the relationship first. I didn't meet dp dc until I had known him for over 8 months. I was then introduced as a friend. That worked really well as I wasn't a threat to dsd at all. I would recommend lots of fun things together rather than serious things, don't put any pressure on dc or dp to like each other at first.
My dp was always putting an enormous amount of pressure on me as he assumed I would automatically think his kids were amazing and I would love them.
Go nice and slow and let them form a relationship slowly and naturally. Don't expect too much too soon.
Most important thing is for them to associate your DP with fun and positive interactions, especially if they are very young.
Thank you so much for your replies, we've been together for a year and my new partner doesn't have any children, I think I want to reassure my ex as much as anything as we want to continue to co parent as harmoniously as possible, it's quite possible we're overthinking it!
A bit odd to think of your boyfriend as a 'step parent', when your DCs have never even met him, IMO. Surely, he's your friend that you want them to start spending a little time with now - he should not be seen as any kind of new parent figure, for a long time yet, especially if he has no experience being a parent at all.
Please don't expect your DC to see this man as step dad, you and he may not last, and they don't even know him, it would be teaching them that any complete stranger can instantly take the place of a primary carer, which is a really bad thing for them to learn. They need to have time, and the right to get to know him slowly, and accept his presence and role in their lives, as and when they feel comfortable.
Going back to your question... I got a shed load of books to read but I think they basically depressed me so were perhaps not helpful!
Also as with any relationship just ensure you keep doing your own thing and have some of your own friends. Becoming a 'step mum' to me quickly became all consuming as my DP wasn't the best cook and hated food shopping so I took over those roles and had to take a step back. Whilst its nice to help out and be a team for me it was stressful going from living alone to living with 2 stepkids and a partner all a bit quickly!
With regard to your ex... of course it is nice if you all get on but you don't have to please him. Your new partner may feel a bit threatend by that so don't make it obvious that is what you are trying to do. Your kids and new partner are your main priority now.
For the kids they are perhaps a bit young to be open but you will have your mothers intuition to know how they are doing. For me the kids were old enough that my partner could talk to them about it... I never have though as not my role... yet.
What age are your kids?
I ask as my kids (15, 10 & 6 at the time) didn't for one minute buy the whole daddy's friend thing & were upset at what they saw as yet another one of his blatant lies esp. when she went from being daddy's friend to someone who just moved in one day!
If your kids are older be upfront and introduce him as your bf.
Ah ok - preschool v different & yes relaxed and mums friend defo the way to go. 😊
I'm a bit surprised tbh, that no one esle thinks boyfriend of a year shouldn't be seen as DCs step parent...I generally accept that everyone has different ways of doing things, but please have a think about what you are doing.
Introducing him to the DCs sounds great, considering him to be another parent figure before they meet, inappropriate.
I'd just do something casual and brief for the first meet up rather than a long activity - a milkshake/hot chocolate in costa or something. I met someone's kids and we did several activities in one day (swimming, lunch out etc) and it was just far too much for his kids (mine was tiny so was unaware!).
As your kids are little, just say he's Mummy's friend. My DS was 3 when he met my BF and I said he was my friend at first then explained (when DS knew him) that he was my best friend, like Granny and Grandpa are best friends together. I'd also mention him a couple of times to the kids prior to meeting - that you have a new friend, maybe show a pic, say a couple of about him that will interest them eg he really likes bike riding and has a dog and he might meet up with you all and have a hot chocolate after softplay one day (or something like that!). Just so you don't spring it all on them and they feel kept in the loop (I found that important, even though DS was so young).
Xmas I might have missed it but I can't see where anyone has said they think that this man will be stepparent? I think trippingup mentioned stepparenting just in terms of her experience of a similar situation (needing to take on a more parent type role in terms of cooking etc) rather than implying this man will be a stepparent?
I agree though, OPs boyfriend definitely doesn't need to take on a step-parenting-type role yet. My DS has known my bf for over 2 years but because we don't live together, there's no parenting role there - its more of a friendly fun uncle role.
Xmas I might have missed it but I can't see where anyone has said they think that this man will be stepparent?
The title of the thread is 'Introducing Step Parent', thats why I think the OP sees it that way!
Ah, sorry I must have erased the title from my brain by the time I'd read and typed!
I imagine the title was just a short way to describe it, having read what OP has said but do agree with you, that it isn't a step parent situation.
RaspberryBeret, no problem, perhaps I was taking it too literally (wouldn't be the first time ;-) ).
Thanks for the polite discussion of difference of view - it makes me realise how that is a bit unusual on mumsnet, sadly...maybe its a sign that I spend too much time on 'AIBU' though!
not introducing him as a stepparent would be a good start.
IMO if the OP has been with this man for a year and is in the process of introducing him to her children then she likely sees the relationship as one with longevity and where this man will potentially ultimately become a step parent? Hence the terminology. Not necessarily because she wants to introduce the man as her children’s new daddy, iyswim.
I would second what others say in that the more relaxed, the better. In my situation my eXH introduced my DC to DP within a matter of weeks because he felt that dc should know I was seeing someone else. In truth he’d hoped that dc would hate the idea and reject DP which would have meant me ending the relationship, but that didn’t happen. But it did take the heat off of me to think of how to make introductions,
Similarly in his own situation eXH introduced DC to his new partner and children within a matter of weeks and was talking about booking family holidays with them all before DC had even met the other DC. Suffice to say that several years on DC and eXH’s partner are completely NC whereas DC have a very reasonable relationship with my DP who has had to act like a step parent in many instances even though he doesn’t live with us, but I have developed serious health issues since we got together meaning that he has had to step up and has done.
But the less promises of futures and rainbows the better IME. Remember that the DC are young now, but they will go through all the stages such as teenagehood and this catches even parents by surprise, as a potential step parent a good relationship now doesn’t equal things going well for ever or things always being sweet and rosy. And as they’re not his kids, the harder times can be more difficult to accept when they feel rejected iyswim.
loverofcake that's exactly my thinking, it feels like a committed relationship, I hadn't really considered the terminology we'll use when introducing my DP but it wouldn't be step parent, I guess I was just thinking long term and how I hope the relationship will develop. It's not a decision any of us have taken lightly, thanks for all the different opinions, it's given us a lot to think about.
Well, my honest view is that a year is too long to leave it because the introduction of children will change the dynamic of a new relationship, and in all honesty, there are no more guarantees that a relationship which has been going for a year will last any more than one which has been going for a few months, iyswim, as any parent of children will know hence why they’re in new relationships in the first place.
That’s not to say that I think that people should introduce strings of men and women to their children, but that in reality if a relationship is starting to go somewhere then it’s possible to introduce new friends into the equation and see how you all get on without bringing up the idea that it could be a new relationship or a potential new step parent.
After my ex introduced my DC to my now DP he did have a change of heart (he acts first and thinks after) but when I got dp and DC together we went out for a day, had a meal out and did some just general going out weekend things in the local area. He did stay over in the spare room because it’s a long distance relationship, but there was no physical contact for a long time and it was quite a while before DC caught on that he was more than just a friend. But I have always had male friends some of which have stayed over as they come from abroad, and so introducing a male friend into the equation wasn’t too much of a leap for DC.
I met my partners two children after we had been together for 8/9 months. They were 3 and 4. I don't have my own children. He had referred about me to them quite a bit so they knew I existed, I casually met them for a couple of hours the first time at my partners house. From then we took it all really steady, I didn't stay over when they were there until a few months after and just gradually started spending more time with them. We have now been together nearly 3.5 years and I'm now 'officially' moving in to my partners house.
I was really nervous about meeting the children and neither of us wanted to rush into it until we were as sure as could be. It does change the dynamic of the relationship a little, not for the worse at all, but I think it's gone really well the whole getting to know the children but there has been ups and downs along the way!
Good luck :-)
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